Unbroken Will: The Extraordinary Courage Of An Ordinary Man


The Story of Leopold Engleitner

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SKU: N0158 Category:


352 pages 156 illustrations

BRAND NEW REVISION by B. Rammerstorfer

Now over 100 years of age, this faithful Austrian brother’s ‘life and death’ experiences and escape from the Nazis make an amazing story.

In his own words: “I have always done my best to apply just principles and to respect the rights of others. That is why no one was ever able to force me to raise a weapon against my fellowman. I have no reason to feel bitter. When I decided to follow this path in 1932, I was well aware that it would mean a hard struggle.”

WHEN LEOPOLD ENGLEITNER WAS NINE YEARS OLD, an event of historical significance for the whole world and that led to the First World War took place in his hometown.

Although Leopold Engleitner and Adolf Hitler, who was sixteen years his senior, grew up in the same province (Upper Austria) and shared the same cultural background and education system, the convictions and attitudes they developed were diametrically opposed. Whereas Adolf Hitler caused untold suffering to millions as a merciless mass murderer, Leopold Engleitner devoted his life to peace, refusing to buckle even in the face of death.

The ordinary farmhand found the extraordinary courage to follow his conscience. He refused to serve in Hitler’s army and did not even use the Nazi greeting “Heil Hitler!” Suffering unspeakable cruelty in three concentration camps he grew so thin that he weighed less than sixty-two pounds. Yet nothing and no one could break his will. Astoundingly, he could easily have had his freedom: all he had to do was sign a paper renouncing his religious convictions as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but he steadfastly refused. And he never lost his optimism. In the concentration camp, he even bought a suitcase Leopold Engleitnerfor the journey home it seemed impossible he would ever make. His unshakable faith in God helped Engleitner, now the oldest known male concentration camp survivor in the world, to lead a full and happy life despite constant rejection, and he never lost his zest for life. His unexpected rehabilitation was achieved thanks to an extraordinary friendship. Though already far advanced in years, he has between 1999 and 2008 traveled more than fifty-seven thousand miles across Europe and the USA as a witness of history to ensure the past is not forgotten and has become a model of tolerance and peace.

Letters written by Engleitner during his internment and believed lost for nearly sixty years were discovered and, combined with original minutes of police and court proceedings, reports from the concentration camps and traumatic childhood incidents from one hundred years ago constitute an impressive firsthand history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over the past fifteen years, Bernhard Rammerstorfer, has conducted intensive research that has enabled him to produce a historically accurate record of Engleitner’s life that has appeared in a number of publications and films in various languages and countries. Rammerstorfer has given talks with Engleitner at schools, universities, and memorial sites in Europe and the USA, including Columbia and Stanford Universities.

Additional information

Weight 0.55 kg